UAE lays out economic vision for next 50 years

Hundreds of government officials pitch plan to ensure the country's economic growth

A new law issued by the President Sheikh Khalifa, in his capacity as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has established the Supreme Council for Financial and Economic Affairs. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Powered by automated translation

More than 1,000 government officials have developed a plan to chart the UAE's economic path for the next 50 years.

Eleven meetings were held online with ministers and senior federal and local government officials to draw up the strategy to strengthen the country's regional and global stature over the coming half century.

The UAE will enter its 50th year of unification on December 2 and Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Prime Minister, has called for the government to put forward blueprints for the country's future development.

Meetings focused on several key points; the UAE's current business environment and ways to stimulate entrepreneurship; foreign trade and partnerships; attracting investments, talents and skills; and cultivating Emirati professionals who are qualifiedto lead the future economy.

Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said his ministry was working to promote energy, infrastructure, housing and transport sectors to support the country in its next developmental phase.

He said the ministry’s plan targeted three axes: renewable and clean energy; oil, petrochemical and mining industries; and land and sea transport and storage.

Top government officials meet to discuss the UAE's economic plan for the coming 50 years. Wam
Top government officials meet to discuss the UAE's economic plan for the coming 50 years. Wam

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said his ministry would establish regulatory infrastructure to promote the use of advanced technology and innovation to drive growth.

He said this infrastructure would "enhance the competitiveness of our national industries and increase their contribution to the GDP, in addition to enhancing the local added value and supporting the growth of small and medium-sized companies in the private sector''.

Dr Al Jaber said the ministry would also aim at creating the appropriate environment to stimulate the growth of promising sectors that contribute to achieving national priorities, especially during a post-pandemic era. These include food, water, energy and pharmaceutical industries and promoting the application of advanced technology in various sectors.

Nasser Al Hamli, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said his ministry sought to attract and retain skilled professionals from around the world to the UAE. This would help form a workforce that matches the requirements of the UAE's future labour market and promote a knowledge-driven economy.

The ministry is also working on developing a central analytical system for labour market data, and programmes that can anticipate future work.

Abdulla bin Touq, Minister of Economy, said the overall plan was to create a "better future for the next generations".

The transformation of the global economic landscape due to geopolitical changes, rapid technological development, market dynamics and the overall effects of Covid-19 prompted the need to review future plans, government systems and work mechanisms to ensure future success.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, said the space sector would play a big role in the country's future and could possibly be "the head of the future economy".

"The next stage will witness the doubling of work to achieve the UAE's vision of pioneering the space sector by qualifying a specialised generation capable of contributing to its growth," she said.

Omar Al Olama, Minister of State for Digital Economy, AI and Remote Working System, said the digital economy was also a fundamental driver for the UAE's plans for the next 50 years.

He said this was due to its "great contribution to economic development, providing job opportunities, new markets and emerging sectors, and its role in empowering society with the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and advanced infrastructure in the field of technology and innovation."

Saeed Alahmadi, Governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said the bank's plan for the next 50 years would involve adopting artificial intelligence, analysing big data, using digital identity and dealing with the repercussions of climate change on the banking and insurance sector.

These focal points represent the most prominent topics on the agendas of global central banks, he said.